tv Melissa Harris- Perry MSNBC December 23, 2012 7:00am-9:00am PST
rice and the nra ceo speaking out again. this time, he's taking questions. first, president obama and speaker boehner are home for the holidays. bah humbug, fiscal cliff. good morning. i'm joy reed in today for melissa harris-perry. this week, every member of commerce had something in common. they lost one of their own. senator daniel inouye passed away. he was a senior member serving his home state of hawaii for half a century. members of congress stood shoulder-to-shoulder at the memorial thursday bowing their heads to honor their colleague as he lay in the capital rotunda. friday, they came together for a somber recollection of a man who
represented an era long gone. president obama delivered the eulogy remembering the senator's key role in the investigation of the watergate scandal. >> as i watched those hearings watching him ask those piercing questions night after night, i learned how our democracy was supposed to work. our government of and by and for the people. we have a system of government where nobody is above the law. where we have an obligation to hold each other accountable. >> president obama was not only honoring a public servant who inspired him personally, but paying homage to a past or a functional one. a past that is a flash in the rear-view mirror of this congress because this is the congress of today. >> as you know, the house did not take up the tax bill last night because we didn't have the votes to pass it. it's not the outcome that i
wanted. that was the will of the house. >> it was the will of the house to do nothing? on thursday night, the members of the elected house of representatives decided it would you describe not their will to take a vote on their own leadership's proposal. it would have exempted the first million dollars of income from a tax increase. there was no chance of being passed into law as the president made clear he would veto it. if the speaker's plan b passed the democrat controlled senate. this was a republican proposal. house democrats would not have supported it. democrats couldn't agree to vote on it. instead, they walked out and went home for the holidays. forget about bipartisanship, this house couldn't achieve partisanship. as the speaker explained it, his fellow republicans wouldn't vote on the proposal because they
didn't want to be perceived as tax raisers. now, the speaker is at a loss. >> many of us believe on both sides of the aisle, the tax code will help us get our economy working faster and put more americans back to work and more americans with tax rules. how we get there, god only knows. >> god only knows? mr. speaker, you're supposed to know. you are supposed to lead your caucus. you clearly cannot. friday, president obama explained it this way. >> nobody can get 100% of what they want. this is not simply a contest between parties in terms of who looks good and who doesn't. there are real world consequences to what we do here. >> ahh, but what if the goal is to do nothing? then a certain faction of the republican party is getting 100%
of what they want. the republicans refusing to vote on a deal at all is their mandate because the ideological emphasis apparently shifted from politics and policy together and over to the process itself. the goal? do nothing. on purpose. bring government to its knees and drown it in a bathtub. will they do the same to our nation? with me at the table is richard kim, bob herbert, angela ride, and attorney raul rraez. what is going on here? >> what you are seeing is the republican party. the last time a congressional republican voted for tax increases, do you know this? 1990. so, you are dealing -- i kind of
feel bad for john boehner, i have to say. he's dealing with a party that refused to raise taxes. meanwhile, 74% of americans want to increase taxes on those making $250,000 or more. two-thirds of the richest americans, the top 1%, making more than 300,000% say they want tax increases on themselves. they are trying to adhere while the country moved in a different direction. >> angela, i have to go to you. you work with the folks on the hill. having dealt with them, what do you think the game is here? is congress to the point i just made or at least the republicans in congress. is the perception they want to bring the government to a standstill? >> i think there are a couple things happening here. you did call it a game. it's a reality. first and foremost, you have a situation where there's not just the fiscal cliff ahead, there's a leadership ahead. you have speaker boehner who demonstrated he cannot lead the
most conservative wing of his party. hees been trying to compromise. the reality is the rest of the party does not. they want to continue to represent the top 2% of america while there are the 98% that are not part of this. as long as you govern for the party and not the people, you have danger ahead. >> isn't the result absolute stay sis? this will give you an illustration of what happened. in terms of how many votes they called, forget the things they have passed. the 112 congress called half as many votes as the 110th congress under speaker pelosi. they were able to do more. just bringing things to the floor isn't happening. for boehner, is it he can't lead or structurally part of it is governing for the 1% which is doing nothing. >> there are a number of dynamics. it's not just that he can't control, if you will, this very
conservative hyperpartisan arm of his caucus, there are multiple things at play. he's been trying to avoid the type of embarrassment you saw last week. i's not called the do nothing congress for nothing. >> the do nothing congress is embarrassing for john boehner. what about the rest of the people? angela talked about the constituents and how they are responding? how are people reacting to it in the real world? >> you mentioned some of the numbers. i saw polling that showed, obviously, the majority of americans, 68% want this problem solved, but with compromises. within the numbers, 59% of republicans want it solved. they are willing to accept tax increases. in the past, they were not in favor of it. strategically they are boxing themselves into a corner. where do you go if you have this
absolutist approach. it's not good in terms of going forward. i think for us as a country, when we talk about dysfunctional congress, the do nothing congress, we need to call them out and say no, it's one party that's creating this dysfunction. it's one party that is dysfunctional. it's them. it's not everybody. >> on the other hand, given the fact that the house of representatives is in the control of a very conservative, some would say extreme republican party, might it be better for them to do nothing? if there's one thing the sequester does, it cuts defense spending, something you would never be able to do. >> i think progressives should do nothing. steve schmidt, john mccain's campaign manager said if mitt romney lost the election, there would be civil war within the republican party. this is what we are seeing now. what was so weird about the last
episode is this caucus was in a room which was virtually like fantasyland. they were arguing over a proposal that made no sense and that was going nowhere. it had -- they are like tearing each other apart over it. this is a party that not only i love your line where you said they weren't able to achieve partisanship. this is a party that is no longer capable of governing. >> right. >> you can't let them be part of the process if they are going to behave like that. >> that's the point. if they can't pass a bill that exempted $999,999 of increases, what can they do? >> i think it saved obama from himself. the deal he was offering to bear, to raise taxes on people making $400,000 was a really bad one, right? now we get to come back to a new
congress. you know, what he needs to find is get the house democratic caucus in line and pick up 20 republican votes in the house. 17 republican votes in the house. that's the coalition that is going to pass something. going off the cliff, i think, is going to be the best thing. >> you set up perfectly what we want to bring up next. you brought up social security and the compromise the president was going to make. a lot of folks saying he shouldn't have done that. social security is at risk some democrats say. people are afraid the president is willing to cave. [ male announcer ] research suggests cell health plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day men's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for men's health concerns as we age. it has 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day men's 50+.
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at the beginning of the week, when a deal between the white house and speaker boehner seemed like it was taking shape, one proposal had progressives talking foul. it would swap the current method of cost increases for changed consumer index. it predicts people will buy cheaper goods if prices go up. in the end, benefits for people would be cheaper. nancy pelosi had this to say. >> do you consider it a benefit cut? >> no. i don't. i consider it a strengthening. that's neither here nor there. there's no sense discussing that. we don't know if we have a plan. >> call it a cut or not, as we await a deal, a looming question is just what aspects of social security are on the table. back to the panel. i want to go to richard first. last week, we had 102 democrats
sign a letter demanding changed cpi be left out of the deal making. do they have a right to be concerned? >> absolutely. i'm surprised to hear it's not a cut. it is a cut. it's going to be a cut down the line for thousands of senior citizens living on fixed incomes facing rising cost on health care and food. the idea that when it gets too expensive you buy tuna. when that's too expensive you buy cat food. we are taking from the most vulnerable level of the population. >> the president's proposal to go to cpi included holding harmless poor seniors. then the other thing is that progressives have proposed this, too. the center for american progress in 2010 put out a report calling for reforms in social security adding same-sex couples to it.
a minimum benefit for the poor. increased benefits for people over 85. on page 24 of their proposal was to go to cpi. the reason is that chained cpis are a more accurate measure. the cpi is based on an unrealistic measurement and it would result in a .3% reduction in the average benefit. that's the pushback. >> it accumulates over time. you are on the arc that goes like this. in the long term, it's a big reduction. but, you know, the problem with all of this is that social security is not the problem. >> that's the big issue. >> we don't need to discuss this to reduce the deaf. we need to talk the bush tax cuts. >> i know that's your issue. it's true. social security does not contribute to that. >> richard is so right. it should not be part of the discussion. the republicans have been on the march with social security since
the 1930s. defend it. don't allow anything here. so, it's really, it's really horrible. >> is there anyway to get to a progressive solution that it addresses? social security until 2037. why not deal with it now? >> one thing progressives do not like it. president obama campaigned social security would not be on the table. it's fresh in people's memory. i have to take offense with, i think part of the reason this is going through is that chained cpis are a concept. i feel like it's a way to slip something through. also, i'm going to be the official scrooge at the table. i think they should have stayed there in the negotiations. it's nice to be home at christmas but when you have the responsibility of the nation, so much power and so much
influence, i don't think it's right to say it's christmas eve we are going home, i'm going on air force one to go to hawaii. people at mcdonald's work for christmas. they don't have the right to vacation. they need to stay in the room and work this out. >> i think angela is going to have to speak for this. you are in this position because you work for these folks. should they have stayed? >> i will say there are staff working. i think the other you haven't reality from my side is that we are not in the majority right now so we don't control the congressional schedule. many democrats thought they should stay as well and said as much. there aren't real negotiations happening. there's posturing in the media. there aren't real negotiations
happening. that's why speaker boehner has so much time. >> is there talk on the hill of people saying look, if we went over the cliff, we would have a deal in two weeks. you took them over the cliff and made them face this after january 3rd, they could come to a deal. >> there are folks that sago over the cliff. there are folks that say if you go over the cliff, the sequestration would harm so many. it's the conscience of the congress for a reason. it's something the members don't want to see happen. >> there are cuts to social programs, automatic cuts. >> repeal of the bush tax cuts. it's not just the sequester, all the tax cuts expire. >> that includes the payroll tax cut. it helped people of lower incomes. there's a lot more on the table. >> the payroll tax cuts need to be reimposed. that is the opening to go after social security for example. but, i always thought all the
bush tax cuts should expire. i think everybody should have skin in the game. i think you should have a progressive tax code. if you want to deal with the deficit problem, the two things you have to have are people working and you have to have people paying taxes. you cannot cut your way out of our deficit problem. >> quick exit question. this is a yes or no. do we get a better deal if we go over the cliff? yes or no. >> i can't do yes or no. i'm sorry. >> we have little time. >> a cliff is terrible. if there is a terrible deal proposed, then i think it's better to go over the cliff. >> take it to the brink, obama. >> don't go over the cliff. no. no. >> absolute lie not. >> we have a table divided. negotiations about policy ors personalities. [ male announcer ] when it comes to the financial obstacles
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usaa brings advice. call or visit us online. we're ready to help. no vote tonight? >> nope. >> will there be a vote tomorrow? >> nope. what happened mr. cantor? >> talk about the face of futility. that was house majority leader eric cantor spelling out where things stand as our elected representatives left. americans want something. the most recent news poll shows the majority of republicans, 59% want a compromise on the budget. if that is the case, what is the deal with making a deal.
is it about the personalities at the table? allen is a professor after administration at new york university's graduate school of public service where he teaches negotiation, conflict resolution and public involvement. thank you for being here. >> my pleasure. give us your assessment of the negotiations between john boehner, the republicans and president obama. >> it's hard to know what's happening at the table. my speculation is, at some point, the president said to the speaker, so i have made some compromises already. i put things on the table. what do you have to put on the table? that may have been what triggered boehner having to go back to the house to get something passed because he couldn't speak for his members. >> he doesn't speak for his members. given that, did it make sense for the president to put something on the table that
seemed to be a departure. he said $250,000 and up. he comes to boehner with no hand. no numbers that match in his hand. did it make sense for the president to go to $400,000? >> the senate saying $500,000. >> i was concerned about that. richard spoke he was concerned the president was putting too much on the table. i was concerned about that as well. in terms of the relationship here, i don't think that's the major story. i think they have enough of a working relationship. they have been cultivating the birthday acknowledgement was a nice gesture. i thought that played well. i think they are beginning to have enough of a working relationship that's not the issue. >> at this point with boehner being so weak, he clearly is at a bad point. his speakership has been bad the
whole way through. he's not been able to get much done. should he have gone in for the kill? we are going back to my original deal, take it or leave it or help boehner save face here? >> he's put the speaker in an awkward position with the new bill that's going to come out in the senate. big if as to whether it could pass. is mitch mcconnell going to agree not to filibuster. is the speaker going to be able to bring it to the floor, which is viewed by his right wing as a complete sell out? because if he brings it to the floor, the democrats and the votes, 17, 20 you mentioned might be enough to pass it. that would be the end of his speakership. >> okay. >> so he's going to have to say no to bringing it to the floor. the president looks very good. i think the real story here is,
if i were the president, i would not want to make a deal now. i think things get better for him as time goes on. >> at the same time -- >> it's a critical part of negotiations. if we don't make a deal, what will happen. what's likely to happen. >> at the same time, the american people are on both sides. >> very good job, by the way. what he's doing is, my expectation -- what i think is happening is the president doesn't want to make a deal, but he has to show he's doing everything possible to make it. he has to show the public wants to see him acting bipartisan. he's saying the right things hoping there's no deal. >> let me put up numbers. there was a recent poll asking about both sides and their willingness to compromise. president obama, 57% of the people said he's not willing enough to compromise.
for the house republicans, it was considerably worse. 76% saying they were not willing to compromise enough, 14% saying they were too willing. both sides fairing poorly in terms of people thinking they are too intransigent. the president better. the president has at least incentive to want to compromise. >> clearly. he should be doing that up to the 11th hour. he needs to show he's willing to be at the table knowing it's not likely and hoping it doesn't happen. it seems important things start to happen in january. not only do the tax cuts go away and starting from a different starting point for the negotiations here. you got what you wanted. >> in terms of the taxes. >> there are prices to be paid. the unemployment benefits going away. all that serious price to be paid short term. then the new congress comes in, the filibuster rule may be changed by reid.
you may have a new speaker or boehner, because he doesn't bring it to the floor does -- >> be in a strong position. >> be in a stronger position. >> i want to ask angela because you are in the middle of it. this is the real congress. we forget that. we are still talking about this rotton congress that couldn't pass anything. with a stronger congress could you get a stronger negotiator than boehner in the house? >> i'm not sure that's the case. the amount of folks he needs on board increases because he needs to make sure he doesn't have another embarrassing situation and deback el like last week. >> let me ask you this quickly. does john boehner, from your perspective, is he willing to do a deal with an overwhelm amount of democrats voting for it? >> i don't think he does.
the reason is, if he starts getting that out in the public domain now, i think he really compromises his ability to maintain the role of speaker. >> is his speakership at risk? >> i think so now. i definitely think so. >> that's why he can't do something now. it could change mid january. >> thank you. we appreciate your expertise. they are leaving the table. thank you for being here. the rest are staying. for more, go figure why 93 million people didn't vote this year. [ woman ] ring. ring. progresso. in what world do potatoes, bacon and cheese add up to 100 calories? your world. ♪ [ whispers ] real bacon... creamy cheese... 100 calories... [ chef ] ma'am [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
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to intimidate people in neighborhoods made up of people of color? two months later, we are fielding the data. the need is so clear on wednesday, the senate judiciary committee held a hearing to find out why only 126 million people cast their ballots last month. that's still less than 60% of the more than 219 million eligible voters in the united states. for those who did vote, the process was, at times, daunting with long lines and confusing ballots. seven hours. that's how long some voters in virginia and florida reported waiting in line on election day. partially because of things like the 12 page that is made up the ballots in places like miami-dade. officials failed to consider how long it would take each person to vote. and there were fewer days to vote. six.
that's how many days were cut in florida allowing eight days instead of 14 for early voting. 15 states didn't allow early voting at all. only eight states in washington, d.c., allowed for same-day voter registration. then there was confusion at the ballot box. 19 polling places in hawaii ran out of paper ballots. at least five other states saw voting precincts run out. we can't know how many turned up to vote, we know 93 million eligible americans did not vote in the 2012 presidential election. according to a new survey from public affairs, more than 25% of them did not vote because they were not registered. as president obama said on election night, we have to fix that. when we come back, we'll tell you how we can. new prilosec otc wildberry
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this election. [ cheers and applause ] whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time, by the way we have to fix that. >> that was president obama speaking the night of his re-election. the fact he addressed the voting drama in his victory speech showed how much chaos there was at the ballot box. to try to fix that, they held a hearing wednesday on the stint of the right to vote. the partisanship that made it such a contentious campaign issue. democrats argue voter id laws and early voter restrictions unfairly target minority voters. republicans insisted the measures fight voter fraud but
offered no evidence it's a widespread problem. sadly, it could be an eternal series. the voter suppression is not over. south carolina and pennsylvania passed voter id laws that while suspended by judges for 2012 could impact elections next year. in some states like wisconsin and missouri, republicans are considering enshrining roader id laws in their constitutions. some want to fix voting problems, others think things are fixed just fine. back with my panel, richard kim, bob herbert, liz, author of "liz free or die" and raul reyes. let's go to washington, d.c. judy brown is co-director of the project. i want to start with you.
what do you think is the most important thing we need to do? >> thanks for having me. we have big things we have to do. voters are fed up with a broken election system and politicians who have tried to manipulate the law sos that people can't participate for their own partisan gain. what we have to do to fix this is we need to either go big or go home. what i mean by that is it is time for us to have national standards around running state and federal elections. in order to get there, we really are going to have to have a federal law that is passed or a constitutional amendment that will give us these national standar standards. right now, we have 13,000 election jurisdictions in this country that run elections 13,000 different ways? that's the part we have to fix. if we get the national standards, make it explicit in
the constitution, we have a right to vote, all else will come from that, including fixing registration, fixing the time it takes us to vote. that's the big idea of where we have to go in this country to fix the system. >> it's a great point you make. i have seen that point made before in editorials. states have less money and resources. the more you drill down to the local level, the more problems you have. >> right. >> to the point of federalizing it, eric holder, he had something to say on this issue. what he said was by creating a system of automatic portable registration where officials use data bases with appropriate privacy to automatically register every voter in america to move when they do, we could not only improve the integrity of elections. back again with you, judith, do you think that could be a first step? >> sure. >> get beyond the question of
voter id? >> sure. registration did cause a lot of problems. what happens is, if you think you registered, show up to the polling place and they don't find your name, that leads to a long line. a lot of people were disappointed. registration is too hard in this country. why are we doing that? it's archaic to have you go down to a particular agency and vote. and if you move, it doesn't move with you. we have to get to the point of modernizing registration. the problem that we have is when we do that, we are doing what we should be doing, which is making free fair and accessible elections. not all politicians want everyone to vote. so, that's going to be the obstacle. >> richard, i want to go to you on that. states have fewer resources in the federal government. in some cases there are officials that have a partisan interest in making it harder to
vote. >> absolutely. this whole thing is around the myth there's widespread voter impersonation. the bush justice department looked into this and found 80 cases in five year that is were prosecuted. it's a fake problem that was ginned up for partisan gain. my concern is the way the laws have been written is to produce the appearance of voter fraud. in florida, they made laws that make it difficult to registered voters. you have to turn your card in within 48 hours. reports of mailings to felons saying you can vote. now what they are going to come back with in 2014 and say look, there is voter fraud because they changed the way voter fraud is measures and produced the conditions to make it happen. >> there's the idea that richard was talking about. there's voter fraud. it happened to be republicans. they are high profile cases. >> to your point, more cases of
female prostate cancer than voter fraud in our country. i have relatives in oregon. their smug superior mailing is crazy. they are so happy. they never have problems. they mail in their vote. even me living in brooklyn, i get a bit going in because i lived in california, i lived in minnesota and now here. the ballot is different in every state. is the thing going to be -- all of that need to go. people need to be excited and know their vote is going to happen. how it happens is priority one. >> there was a bit of ethnic targeting there year. you hate to go there. we hate to go there. this time, it wasn't people that look like me, it was people that look like you as the primary targets. >> we saw it in florida and texas. there were problems in arizona. the research group found people of color, african-american and
latinos waited two to three times longer than other voters to vote. what is very, very troubling is the supreme court is revealing the section five of voter rights. that was used to fight the efforts. there's a chance they will strike it down. it was used in south carolina and redistricting in florida. they are trying to weaken it. this problem could get worse. i have one big question i wish someone had asked. i want to know, how does cutting back on voting sunday prevent voter fraud? >> it prevents it churches -- we are going to get on there. bob wants to get in on it. coming up, a supreme court challenge to voter rights coming up next. [ sniffs ] i have a cold. [ sniffs ] i took dayquil but my nose is still runny. [ male announcer ] truth is, dayquil doesn't treat that. really? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms,
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officials or professionals and want to do everything we can to help our side. sometimes we think it's voter id or longer lines, whatever it may be. >> that was scott tran tor. he's a republican campaign consultant making it plain as if there was a doubt about how republicans feel about the laws. they are meant to confer a political advantage on one party. >> such candor is unusual. folks understand what is going on here. we have these big demographic changes in the country. the republican party sees it as well or better than anyone else. so, it's in their interest. it's become, basically, an all-white party. it's a virtually all-white party. there's no indication it's going to change as we can tell from the fiscal cliff. they want to make it as difficult as possible for latinos and african-americans to vote. the fewer that vote, the better
it is for them. i think that's true. >> they are sort of admitting it. i want to show a map of 33 state that is passed the voter id laws. you can look at the map and see the sweep across the south. take california off the table and there's a strangle hold the republicans have in the deep south they are strengthening with voter id. i want to go back to judith on that point. you talked about the meeting to federalize elections. what can be done when the laws are on the books and cases upheld by a higher court. with 33 states already having voter id, what do you think are the realistic things we can do to make voting easier, federalize it, as you said earlier? >> of course we have the problem of, you know, a congress that is going to be deadlocked around this issue. the senate and senator durbin will probably try to move
something. there's good bills pending on the house side. are republicans ready? this is an issue where you know, the republican party just like on the demographics i hassue, t need to check the pulse of america. republican voters and democratic voters are fed up with the broken system. they don't want politicians manipulating their vote. people know. this is your voice. so, for them to actually decide that certain people shouldn't vote and we should have long lines, i waited for seven hours in line. i'm in maryland. i know that is a horrible thing to have to go through just to exercise your right to vote. the gop needs to check the polls because clearly 80% of people in the pugh study said they want national standards. it's time for us to look at the national standards. in the short term, we get the smaller fixes.
people in the states will fight against early voting cutbacks et cetera. we have the state fights, but we really need to get congress on board to move this. republicans have got to step up and listen to the voters because this isn't a republican or democratic issue. this is a democracy issue. >> right. this is for the table. this all makes sense. we agree with what was said. aren't we at risk as we get farther from the election people are going to let it go? we have fiscal cliff and other issues. >> i might have said that before the election. the thing that surprised me about the election was the way people turned out despite the voter intimidation. >> probably because of it. >> i assume the african-american vote goes down from 2008. i assumed the vote among young people was going to go down. neither of those things happened. people want to vote. the advancement project and other groups are fighting hard. that won't go away.
>> because it was felt women and younger people. >> yeah, i think women said, if i was on the fence, i'm not. then they said, if you want to have sex with me ever again, you are going to vote. >> is that what they said? is that specifically what they said? >> i polled. i have data on this. and i think that people went, this is real. the lifestyle that people are living has been under attack. it's like common sense became a passion. you know, you never hear major moderate. but i think major moderates came out and said what the heck, this is insanity. anything i thought before, i don't know what they are talking about. >> in addition to public polling, i think technology had a role in this. for the first time, people were taking pictures of the lines, posting them on facebook and twitter. you saw it happen in realtime across america.
share "not even close." share "you owe me..." share "just right." the share everything plan. shareable data across 10 devices with unlimited talk and text. hurry in for a droid incredible 4g lte by htc for $49.99. welcome back. i'm joy reid in for melissa harris-perry. before president obama begins the second term, the cabinet is on overdrive. everyone is looking at who is in and who is out. among those likely out is secretary tim geithner and secretary of state hillary clinton who is leaving. her likely successor was nominated on friday by the
president. >> today, though, i'm looking ahead to my second term. i'm very proud to announce my choice for america's next secretary of state, john kerry. >> that announcement took place eight days of susan rice the ambassador to the united nations removed herself from the nomination. it was over interviews she gave on the attacks of benghazi. the attacks came even though she was never nominated. with rice out, kerry is in. as yet, president obama has made no nomination for secretary of defense to replace the pentagon chief, leon panetta. the short list is very short indeed, chuck hagel. the senator from nebraska. he's the front-runner to succeed
panetta. at least conservatives are treating him that way and using the tactics they used against susan rice and on one detail, israel. he once warned of the intimidating influence of the jewish lobby and said this in a 2006 interview while in office. >> i'm a united states senator, not an israeli senator. i'm a united states senator. i support israel, but my first interest is i take an oath to the united states, not to a president, not a a party not to israel. >> i'm confused about what is controversial about that. hagel is criticized for a remark he made about an ambassador
candidate he made in 1998 when he said james hormel was openly gay. hormel said he accepted the apology. chuck hagel hasn't been selected yet. given what happened to ambassador rice, the question becomes will the president get the cabinet he wants or settle for the cabinet he can get confirm? richard, bob, lizz and raul reyes. this is about chuck hagel and opti optics. it's the president putting one forward saying is this okay. when they say it's not okay, it pulls back. is that the problem here? >> it's what i think. chuck hagel needs to look back
at what happened with shirley sherrod and hagel. don't get to the defense post yet, if i am chuck. the thing is, is there a -- the president is trying to fashion a cabinet for the second term. is there a point which he will fight for people he really wants in those positions? we don't know that yet. we haven't seen that. >> do we have things that he's willing to fight for him? when the james hormel issue came out, initially, hormel did not accept that apology. then all of a sudden, he had a change of heart on facebook. he said i'm fine with it. the timing is suspect. something tells me he got a phone call from someone. >> maybe, maybe not. hagel's friends had been meeting together to get a strategy together. the choice is befudling to me. it's a choice hens and democrats are not going to like.
>> it's the obama way. it's what barack obama does. >> that's the thing. his version of bipartisanship is to displease everyone. if you want to displease everyone, chuck hagel is your man. >> he doesn't displease everyone. he was my favorite republican. he defied his party on the war. the people that were 100% wrong. >> voted for it anyway. >> if you choose him to show diversity in the sense you have a republican in the cabinet, he's not someone the republicans like anyway. we were speaking about this about why the democrats feel this need to appoint a republican to secretary of defense. why? i'm not crazy about him. too conciliatory. this is in the wrong direction. >> not to mention, let's blow out guns to chuck hagel and defend him to death.
when susan rice says i'm going, to let it go. she doesn't have a record of voting with the bush administration and saying homo phobic things. >> obama said he was going to the mat with her. he said if you want a fight over this nomination, i'm happy to have that. >> we don't know the internal workings of the white house. we don't know if she was the first choice. john kerry looks like the second banana, but we don't know he was the second choice. we don't know who was the first choice. >> that is exactly right. that's the problem with playing optics in a democracy like we have. >> would it have been better and smarter for the administration to go ahead and nominate them and have the fight while seated in the hearing rather than public? >> my feeling on this is it doesn't matter all that much
whether it's susan rice. we know it dictates foreign policy and the military are not going to change. they come from the president. we know the program will continue. we know the afghanistan policy will continue. whether it's chuck hagel or someone else, a democrat running that, that's coming from the top. it matters in a political sense. i think they are promised later down the line where he thooz show resolve. we are going to defend that. in terms of the policy question, i don't think there's a lot of daylight. >> you know why? the obama foreign policy is a repudiation. pulling back in afghanistan. >> it's an extension. >> executive authority to run the war on terror. >> president's never give back authority. there was a rejection of the neoconservative of foreign policy. chuck hagel em bodies that.
no to the neocons. >> true. getting back to a point you were making earlier. i have to say, i wish he would nominate his first choices. i think, for example in the case of susan rice, she had all this information and misinformation about hergs herself out there. she had to make amends for it. if you are going to slander someone, put them on the national stage to defend themselveses to the public. her public reputation is in ruins after this long career. whoever is the selection, own it and nominate them. >> one arm tied behind her back. she was the nominee. i know we don't know if susan rice was or was not the first choice. >> we should know. i would like a cabinet that looks like america. when susan rice isn't the first choice, who do we have? we have white, 60-plus men who is now -- >> how you read my mind.
how you read my mind. >> i'm magical. >> we are going there. we are going to talk about the diversity question. i agree, he should have nominated her. my main problem was nothing about the politics or policy. it was letting john mccain win anything. i don't like him getting his way on anything. i think he's toxic. stay right there. up next, is our nation's first black president facing a cabinet diversity dilemma? ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] campbell's green bean casserole. it's amazing what soup can do who have used androgel 1%, there's big news.
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something of a departure. kerry, unlike clinton, condoleezza rice and madeleine albright is a white man. this is the last white man to serve as secretary of state. look at him, warren christopher who stepped down in 1997 during bill clinton's second term. no woman or person of color led the defense or treasury departments. it was interesting to hear the name of american express ceo float this week. white house officials approached him for joining the president's nomination as treasury secretary. is the country's first black president facing an optics problem if the cabinet is white and male? since you read my mind on this, is it ironic or a sign of progress that we have a black president and we are asking the
question of whether he needs to do the diversity thing or can he feel free to sort of make his cabinet his picks and not worry about the diversity? >> so far, susan rice was his pick, she's not. then i don't know, chuck hagel. really? the most qualify? i don't know he's making good choices. i would like to see a cabinet that reflects a lot of interesting, smart choices and reflects diversity of our country. i don't know. now, you know, patrick was talked about as ag. will they choose him now that john kerry. >> eric holder is going to stay on. you'll have an african-american attorney general. we have kathleen sebelius. she's there. there is still diversity. this is to a table, i'll start with you raul.
there are names, we haven't seen an lgbt does the president need to fill them? >> i'm ambivalent about this when it comes to diversity at this level. two words, alberto gonzalez. there are good and not so good appointments. with that said, wanting to see a cabinet that looks like america, it's more than optics. one reason people are checked out of politics, when they look at what's happening, they see nobody who looks like them. they feel it's not for me or my community. i'm not connected. it does matter. even on a personal matter. this was not a cabinet nomination, but when sonia sotomayer was nominated, people normally did not tune in. she was the pride of the entire community. it was remarkable. so it's more than just the
optics. >> it affects people. maybe it's an argument for having more younger people as well. i'll ask you the same thing, richard. we don't want to see the democrats go down the road of republicans. the tim scott thing was seen as putting a black face forward. they have a demographic problem. do they risk looking like they are doing the same thing? >> i agree. i would like to see a cabinet that looks like america. not if it means nikki halie, bobby jindal. they controlled that with very conservative people that served in the cabinet who looked like america. now it's interesting when you do appoint a minority, do you empower that person? hilda solis is the example there. she's been shut out of the chief economic decisions the country is making.
did the president actually empower her to take a big role in the recovery? i don't think the answer to that is yes. >> at the same time, you had valerie jared. you can't really say the voices of women and minorities are shut out. >> they haven't been but there's not enough diversity. it's not just the obama administration. the reason you want more diversity is not soly because of optics it's because you get a variety of voices. you get new perspectives. you get new ideas. if you have someone who's in the cabinet, a latino or african-american or gay, there are other appointments within the cabinet. this is how new leaders get elected and experience. it is important across the board. with the demographic change that is are under way in the united states, it's only going to
become ever more important. >> one interesting name is michelle who would become the first woman secretary of defense. with all the really disturbing news we have heard of increased sexual assaults in the military and whether chuck hagel would implement don't ask don't tell. is that a power symbol? she was qualified. >> i think so especially when you look at the ever changing military. when you look at now that don't ask don't tell is gone, the amount of women in the military and the problems that goes to the point you were talking about which is things go ignored because it doesn't affect those in charge. when people are so surprised at things. you are surprised because you haven't lived it. when you have that voice in the conversation people go wow, sorry i didn't think about it.
now i know. now i will. >> great discussion. up next, the president can nominate them but sometimes all he gets is an empty chair. that's a cool smartphone. yeah. and you can get it with virgin mobile's plan. $35 a month with unlimited data and messaging included. with all the web surfing i want? yep. sounds like a data buffet. an all-you-can-eat data buffet. you know who would love our all-you-can-eat-data buffet? big lucy. big lucy! are you hungry? for all the data. [ male announcer ] get the season's hottest smartphones, like the kyocera rise. and get virgin mobile, with unlimited data and messaging included, for just $35 a month. from america's gift headquarters. walmart.
in considering congress hasn't confirmed a director of bureau of tobacco and firearms in six years, the agency that works to keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals, i suggest they make this a priority early in the year. >> that was president obama wednesday speaking in part on the shooting in newtown, connecticut and expressing frustration to refuse at least one of his nominations. i don't mean last month. we are talking november of 2010.
perhaps it's a sign of fights to come. on this issue, the president has another choice. gun control advocate michael bloomberg urged him to make a head of the atf. it's the power this president is reluctant to use. so, the idea being that the president could play something. this was nominated in 2010. he's serving as an interim. is it possible for the president to flex his executive authority and recess a point? >> here is maybe what he does. he floats out somebody he wants and win la pi pierre. float those two name sos people are like really? whoever that person is, it's a shoe in. >> that's how we end up with him. >> winstead public polling.
>> exactly. >> it's a good idea. i'll go to you on this raul. there's more urgency. people don't pay attention to the atf, but they might now. republicans might be more reluctant to block or filibuster. is it possible through a regular order, maybe republicans on this issue? >> it is a possibility because of what happened in newtown and the public response and because bloomberg is pushing this idea. he appeals to so many moderates and republicans as well. he has a lot of authority. the fact that he is suggesting it is a good idea. i ties into whether we get to immigration issue. a lot of mexico's problem with the drug cartels, those guns come from us. i think it might be a good way to do it. >> is there a sense that these
cabinet appointments matter in terms of public policy? >> it was a point i wanted to make. they do matter. the cabinet officials can influence the president on policies. it's supposed to be part of the job. in terms of recess appointment, he should go ahead and do it. i am in favor of the president. he just won the election. big -- being really aggressive against the republicans, push them as far as he can push them -- >> for once. >> exactly. and see what the e response is. that might be enough to go to get them to make a reasonable compromise. >> you don't want the president to be set that you are constantly doing that floating thing out there. >> reactive. >> stop being reactive. >> where this is really going to matter is in the judicial appointments. this is where his legacy is going to be felt in 2022, 2026. you are going to have all these
seat that is are vacant now and he needs to force through appointments there. >> there is the possibility, probably the probability at least one supreme court fight. the question is whether or not he tries to recess a point and use leverage now or wait. the fact is, in the next congress, he will have more leverage and more democrats. he that has moral authority. you have a lot of opportunities for the president to set the stage for him to impose the moral authority even on these republicans, right? >> also on the supreme court level, it's where everyone is watching. the republicans are less likely to be as obstructionist. on the lower level, the blocks happen, it's one senator holding it up. no one raises a ruckous on that. it's the level i really, really -- >> another way to form a filibuster. i think it might change things. okay. up next, after friday's media
statement, the nras wayne la pe peerary is talking about. he's taking questions. [ sniffs ] i have a cold. [ sniffs ] i took dayquil but my nose is still runny. [ male announcer ] truth is, dayquil doesn't treat that. really? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms, plus it relieves your runny nose. [ breathes deeply ] awesome. [ male announcer ] yes, it is. that's the cold truth!
can i still ship a gift in time for christmas? yeah, sure you can. great. where's your gift? uh... whew. [ male announcer ] break from the holiday stress. ship fedex express by december 22nd for christmas delivery. on friday, the nra surfaced and held a press conference in response to the connecticut school massacre. what the nra did on friday was not a traditional press conference. at a press conference, usually you take questions from the press. instead, nra ceo wayne lapierre took to the stage and graced our tvs with a 25 minute speech then walked away. since then, the nra received tremendous backlash for the speech and not taking questions. that changes this morning when
he took questions in an interview with david gregory on "meet the press." >> never once did you conceive that guns could be part of the problem. is that a meaningful contribution mr. lapierre or a dodge? >> i said what i honestly thought and what millions and hundreds of millions of people in this country believe will make a difference. >> no. no. he -- we'll keep going. everyone is saying if wayne lapierre's interview is enough for the backlashing of the more guns solution. this comment by west harvard's superintendent tom moore. i come from a family of hunters. i'll ask for christmas after hearing wayne lapierre blame officials for the shooting is for my brothers to resign from the nra. they may have to go back to the drawing board to convince people it seeks meaningful change.
i stepped on my statement a bit. what he said was he was speaking for the majority of gun owners and what they think. it was not true. we have data. views on gun control measures have changed. this is questions now on whether people support specific kinlds of gun control that wayne lapierre was asked about. the question of whether or not we should ban high capacity clips. 59% support, 38% oppose. on the question of banning semiautomatic handguns, 52% to ban them, 44% no. to ban handguns except to law enforcement, his position hold, 27 support it. it's not true that most americans oppose gun control. >> let's say we should call the nra the aka 47%. he doesn't speak for gun owners
who are responsible. there's something interesting. if you notice when progressives and liberals talk about the issue, they have to have a k caveat like i have a black friend. i have hunters in my family. stop it. this craziness of human beings walking the earth with killing machin machines. you shouldn't have to have a caveat that says i know hunters. we all love hunters. i have vennsison in my fridge. what is wrong is assault rifles in this country. >> wayne lapierre is saying no to that. >> then have his own rifle association. that should be the name of it. >> the positions he's putting forward, many of the members don't agree with it. they support the measures we are
talking about. one of the problems we have to deal with going forward, the nra has been successful in presenting to the public, members of their audience, either/or choice. it's not either/or. we can have both. >> it's between confiscating. it's all of nothing. >> it wasn't a press conference. it might actually do him a disservice. there's been so much backlash. people who look at that say that is not me. it's not us. >> we have a bit of a conceptual problem. he represents the membership, the general membership of the nra when, in fact, what he represents are the gun manufacturers. his goal is to sell as many guns to as many people as possible. it's the same goal they are in lock step with the gun
manufacturers. >> they have to do it. you have a declining number of people. to that point, they are increasing sales of gun ammunition. the reason they stand against things like cop killer bullets, because they are being sold. i want to play a piece of sound from the interview this morning with wayne lapierre. let's play it and see what he said. here, we drill down to the topic of high capacity magazines and whether that, wayne lapierre may admit may be a problem. if we have that clip to play it. >> here is a magazine for ammunition that carries 30 bullets. isn't it possible, if we got rid of these, replaced them and said to have a magazine carrying five or ten bullet, isn't it possible to reduce the carnage? >> i don't believe it's going to make a difference. there are so many ways to evade that. you had that for ten years when
it was passed in '94. columbine occurred in the middle of it. it didn't make a difference. >> first of all, columbine happened in 1999. put armed guards in every school. this were armed guards at columbine. it didn't stop anything. this is the age of unreality. is he digging himself into a deeper hole by being shown the magazines and being able to mow down 26 people no, it's unacceptable. >> he unloaded a load of crazy at that press conference. >> 100 rounds of crazy. >> i think obviously, reducing the number of bullets you can discharge in a second would help. he's partly right in a sense that also the real problem is handguns. you need to have a buyback program. it's not what he was saying. he was saying there's a point
that the magazine clips are not the only vehicle. >> they are the main issue in mass shootings. they are responsible for the overwhelming number of deaths, suicides, homicides. when it comes to mass shooting, this is an assault weapons issue. >> the statements he's making on friday, he's marginalizing himself. he's showing these are his meaningful ideas. he's taking himself out of the debate. it's a non-negotiable position. he may be doing a favor to people who favor gun laws. >> lizz, you are a comedy writer. in a way, could wayne lapierre be crazy like a fox? could he be misdirecting everyone away from the obvious solution that even republicans are saying this is crazy, the idea of schools and meanwhile,
we are talking mental health and video games, everything except gun control. i want to reiterate other countries have video games, by the way. >> they do? >> yes. i have said it before, it's my big thing. what i think is, it kind of goes back to bob's point, which is the nra membership has to stand-up to him. you know, we know that he represents the industry. you know, with childhood obesity, let's say, mcdonald's didn't say we are going to stop making french fries. they said we understand we have a high calorie food, so we are going to offer salads and post, you know, the nutritional content on our food. we are going to make concessions. we are not going to stop what we are doing but we realize that partially hydrogenated oils are part of the problem. he can't even see -- >> totally inflexible. >> i think people look at that and say wow. i think the members of the nra
have to say, i don't want to be that guy. i go hunting with my kid. he shoot a duck, have a deer. that's what we do. i'm not psycho guy. >> isn't that already happening? you have municipalities cancelling gun shows and doing it for the nra. the nra may not want to do it and wayne may not want to do it, but they are doing themselves a favor by being on the side. >> gun owners need to understand something is going to get done. the question is how much and how effective it needs to be. that's what's going on right now. >> thank you very much. when we come back, the nra strategy after newtown. what could they be thinking? try running four.ning a restaurant is hard, fortunately we've got ink.
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since friday has been pronounced. is this part of the media strategy? as kevin put it, lapierres only goal was to hijack the media narrative. he wants us talking about mental health services. he's happy if we spend time talking about how crazy his proposal is. not only does it keep us from talking gun regulation, but it's good for the gun fund raising efforts. lapierre pushed back to the criticism of the his friday statement. >> i would like to get your reaction to you on friday, which a lot of people were shocked by your presentation. >> if it's crazy to call for putting police and armed security in our school then call me crazy. i tell you what, the american people, i think the american people think it's crazy not to do it. it's the one thing that would
keep people safe and the nra is going to try to do that. >> no. no. actually, that's not true. most people think it's crazy to talk about arming teachers and armed guards. there are countries where you can send your children to school in an armed camp. somalia is one of them. parts of the congo. right. so, what kind of country is the nra thinking people want to live in? it goes back to your point where they are selling more guns. >> people want their kids to go to a school that's safe. most schools in america, in fact, are safe. you know, this idea that there's going to be someone with an ak-47 walking into a grammar school is a mistake. wayne just wants to change the subject. his hope is this stuff will go away. there will be the fiscal cliff and another story and forget about it.
i think you are right, it's a moment that's not going to go away so easily. >> the other issue is he has succeeded, in a sense. we are laughing at him, saying he's insane and talking about the video games from the '90s he was referencing. the thing people are getting away from, no matter what mental health issues this man was suffering from, had he not had access to a dozen deadly weapons, he couldn't have done this. >> absolutely. there was a mass stabbing in china. 23 people stabbed and all of them survived. these tragedies are awful. how armed is a person committing the crime and can police actually be police in that situation. you know, i'm a little pessimistic about something happening out of this. we have to look at 1989. there was a shooting in stockton
and a huge out cry. in 1994, a legislation passed. in addition to muddying the waters and registry of mentally ill people is also going to be behind the scenes, too. in stuff that we will never see. it will be lobbying and pressure put on just to slow down the legislation so they can get in all the loopholes that they want. >> just to rich's point. the nra is more aggressive in opposition. you saw after the expiration of the assault weapons ban in 2004, they got aggressive. it was before staying your ground was passed. they banned cities. they got aggressive really quickly. they are still more aggressive than the other side. >> i truly believe, i still believe the vast majority of americans across all affiliations are reasonable people. the tragedy in newtown wasn't a true game changer. on my way down here, i saw the
new edition, people magazine that has the faces of all those kids on the cover. as time goes on, parents will write a book about their experience. we come to know more about their children. it's not going to go away. it touched such a nerve with people, they are against something that is very different from the past where they could die down and go back to business as usual. i think this is something that touches on every parent's worst nightmare. it's not going to go away. with the strategy, the game is different now. >> i want to reiterate that wayne lapierre introduced an idea that there would be a mental health data base. to anybody. i will say myself, i have suffered from depression. i think many people have in their lives. they have children. they are on medication, whatever it is. depression and some kind of mental illness has touched everyone's lives. to say that you want to demonize
those people instead of getting these horrible machines off the street should tell you everything about that organization. it can't be stressed enough. it's one of the most horrible things i have heard. maybe in my lifetime in any political setting. >> by the way, it's not practical. >> look at the number of people who are registered. if you look at the number of people who are actually on registrations where they can't get a gun it's 1.4 million people versus 54 million. >> it's wrong to suggest something like that. the implications are -- there's no end. >> suffering from depression. >> people who are mentally ill are more likely to be the victim. >> what could be the nras
communication strategy going forward. there's going to be a task force headed by the vice president. it's going to be public. probably books and more exploration of what happened on television in the media. what could the nra do now to help the damage? >> i think the strategy is going to be behind the scenes, pushing hard on republicans. it goes to what we talked about how the republicans have a mentality, it's all or nothing. they are going to play to that very hard. i think the way our system is right now, there's a good chance they will be successful. >> richard, you are pessimistic we could see. the other thing they propose, there isn't going to be a registry of people with mental illness. the worse isn't going to happen. whatever the majority of people think there could be a legislative solution to people getting these guns. >> james brady was shot in 1981. >> right. >> when did the brady bill pass?
'93? >> yeah. >> with a congress that didn't have obstructionists gone bizarre on steroids. i don't know how -- i mean i'm in richard's camp when you look at who the players are, how to get meaningful legislation. what it means. >> we don't have to wait for legislation. it's the primary vehicle where there's a reduction in assault weapons. private equity firms. walmart is under scrutiny for selling the same rifle that was used in newtown. we could apply -- it's not the best solution and corporations say they are not going to get in the game and they go back. it's one way to pressure on this. >> that has already happened. you've already seen the idea of corporations proactivity start heading off the shame factor, dick's sporting goods near newtown, taking those guns off their severals. there is a possible, as you said, the california teachers
union pushing that private equity firm to get out of the business. a great discussion. wish we had more time. stay where you are. up next, my footnote and why we should be thanking a teacher today. [ loud party sounds ] hi, i'm ensure clear... clear, huh? i'm not juice or fancy water. i've got nine grams of protein. that's three times more than me! [ female announcer ] ensure clear. nine grams protein. zero fat. in blueberry/pomegranate and peach. wears off. [ female announcer ] stop searching and start repairing. eucerin professional repair moisturizes while actually repairing very dry skin. the end of trial and error has arrived. try a free sample at eucerinus.com.
♪ the shocking massacre at sandy hook elementary school was about many things. the horrors of gun violence and the easy availability of deadly weapons. the realities and the unfair stigma of mental illness, and the eternal vulnerability of our children. but it was also about something else. because something else happened in that school that was both tragic and amazing. teachers, young and middle-aged, from different backgrounds and from different walks of life, risked and in some cases gave their lives to protect the kids in their care.
teachers and school administrators like dawn hochsprung, who lunged toward the gunman before being shot to death alongside the school's counselor. victoria soto, who hid half a dozen children in a closet before being killed herself while shielding her students. and anne marie murphy, whose body was reportedly found guarding the tiny bodies beneath her in an attempt to save them. we have had moments like this in this country where we haven't seemed to appreciate teachers much. we've seen battles over their union benefits and rights to organize in states like wisconsin and ohio. they've been attacked as having too many benefits and being too hard to fire. they've been yelled at by governor chris christie, targeted by governor scott walker as budget-busting scapegoats and told that if they don't like their low salaries they can find some other job to do. my mother was a teacher so, i appreciate teachers and how hard they work. my godmother, bernice, taught school in the bronx for 25 years. through working here at msnbc, i
reconnected with my ninth grade european history teacher, karen feign. she e-mailed me wondering if i might be the same joy ann who was in her class all those years ago in denver and that p if i was, she wrote, she was proud of me, and if not, she said she'd keep watching anyway. she reminded me many years ago after my senior year in high school she showed up at my mother's funeral just to give me quiet support. the host of this show, melissa harris perry, happens to be a teacher. but they aren't just kind people, women and men, who care for their students, do a tough job for little pay and increasingly little support. in cases like sandy hook, they are people who, if it comes to it, literally lay down their lives for our kids. so this holiday season, please thank a teacher, your teacher or just one you know. let them know that you appreciate them, that we appreciate them. and that's it for our show today. thank you to richard kim, bob herbert, liz winsted and raul
reyes, and thanks to you at home for watching. melissa will be back next saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern. for all of us in nerd land, wishing you a very hop pay hhap holidays. coming up, "weekends with alex witt." [ male announcer ] when it comes to the financial obstacles military families face, we understand. at usaa, we know military life is different. we've been there. that's why every bit of financial advice we offer is geared specifically to current and former military members and their families. [ laughs ] dad! dad! [ applause ] ♪ [ male announcer ] life brings obstacles. usaa brings advice. call or visit us online. we're ready to help.